NaNo 2011 was a total crash and burn, so much so that for the longest time I couldn’t even remember what my novel idea was. Blame it on the first year of university. Anyway…apparently I wrote about 2,000 words of the novel I restarted in 2012, Prin Ten Arken: Before the Beginning. So, moving on to 2013, since I already posted a 2012 TBT.
2013 was The Hilt and the Blade, which is also part of the Kirael series and takes place right before the Shard trilogy.
Adyah glared at him with fiery eyes, her weapon ready in her hands. The fierce wind blowing up from the chasm and swirling around them was deafening, and it was dark except for the moonlight. She felt vulnerable without Alerone, but she also knew her own capabilities. She had not been sent as the representative of her clan to the Red Clearing for nothing.
“Who are you?” came a deep, loud voice, strong enough that she could hear him over the noise of the wind. “What do you want?”
“It is no business of yours!” she replied, shouting as loudly as she could. “All that I require of you is to let me pass!”
“I cannot,” came the answer. The man began inching his way closer to her, fighting against the wind.
She grasped the hilt of her sword tightly, refusing to back down. “I will not yield,” she warned. “I will not flee from you. I will fight.”
He was close now. “That is what I intend.” He raised his sword above his head and brought it down with a great, resonating clang as it met with her blade. The strength he felt in her arm as she wielded the sword impressed him, and he realized he had perhaps underestimated her. For a moment, neither of them moved. A cloud that had been shrouding the moon gently glided away, and the full light of it washed over them, lighting their eyes with that strange blue flame that only moonlight can bring. Immediately her eyes fell to his armor, and abruptly she lowered her blade, staring at the insignia on his breastplate. Something deterred him from taking advantage of the situation and finishing her off, and he waited to see what she would do.
“Are you of the Crystal City?” she asked, raising her eyes to his.
“Yes,” he said slowly. “I thought you knew that.”
“Quick,” she said, grabbing his wrist, “I need your help.”
Before he could protest she pulled him towards the rim of the basin, surprisingly agile over the jagged and loose rocks. He held back and jerked his arm away from her, and she turned to face him, a look of mixed annoyance and puzzlement on her face. Another cloud passed over the moon and he could only see her silhouette.
“What is it?” she asked somewhat impatiently.
“What do you mean, ‘what is it’? A moment ago it was my intent to kill you, and apparently your intent to kill me, and now you want my help. I am not unwilling to help you, but then you must tell me who you are. For all I know you are an enemy.” He could not see her face in the shadows, and she stood perfectly still and silent for a few moments.
“I am a servant of the Crystal Blade and of the one who created it. Is that enough?”
He stared at her figure, surprised. What an odd way to answer a question…surely if she were the enemy, she would have had a much more common explanation. And to speak in such a way, to sound like the legends of old…
“Very well,” he answered finally. “Lead the way.”
Adyah turned and continued up the slope to the basin’s rim, very aware that she was being foolish by turning her back on someone who had just tried to kill her and who still had a ready weapon in his hands. But she was desperate. They were able to go faster and faster the further away they ran from the chasm and the wind, and finally they pulled themselves up over the rim and were happy to feel solid ground beneath their feet again.
Adyah, with her whole head wrapped in a white bandage, was sitting upright on one of the beds, arguing with a perfectly well meaning physician who clearly knew better than she did about what state she was in, but who was apparently unable to convince her. At the sight of his sister so badly injured and blood seeping even through the thick bandage Jack was filled with dread and pity, but hearing her argue so vehemently he was sure that she would be all right.
“I’ve told you, you cannot possibly continue fighting-“
“I’m sorry, do I have some sort of time limit stamped on my forehead? Do I look like I can’t keep fighting? Because I can keep fighting.”
“It’s not a question of fatigue, it’s a question of-“
“What?! What did you say? Fatigue? Are you saying I’m too fatigued? I’m not too fatigued, you hopeless, uneducated bumpkin. I don’t get fatigued. Do you know who I am? I’m going to fight, and I’d like to see you stop me.”
“As I said, it’s not a question of that, but with that head injury and how severe it is, I simply don’t see-“
”I can see you don’t see! If you could see then you would be able to see that I’m not tired at all and that it’s only a minor head wound and I can keep going! I can’t even feel anything! How can you tell me it’s a serious head wound when I can’t even feel anything?
“It might have something to do with the bottle of medicinal spirits you downed thinking it was brandy!” the physician said, raising his voice for the first time.
Jack decided it was time to step in. “Hello, Adyah. How are you feeling?” He eyed the pool of blood soaking into the bandage and knew that the physician was right and there was no way she could continue in the battle.
“I’m perfectly fine, as I’m trying to tell this physician of yours. Shouldn’t you be more carefully about who you allow to treat patients in this place? I mean honestly, he doesn’t know what he’s doing and he’s telling me I can’t fight, and I know I can fight. I know I can.”
Jack looked at the physician. “I am sorry. Would you excuse us for a moment?” he asked.
Gladly, sir. Gladly.” With that the physician stepped away and went out of the tent.
“Adyah…” Jack knelt in front of her and looked her in the eye. He knew she knew, but he also knew that she was a lot like him, and he knew he would be saying the same things if he were in her position. “You know he’s right.”
Her eyes became moist and she winced again, for the first time showing her pain. “Ugh. I know. I feel like a cannon ball was shot into my skull.”
“It’s all right. There will be other battles. For now you have to rest, all right?”
She nodded. “If you say so. Just tell the doctor to mind his own business and stop yelling at me. It hurts my head.”
Jack nodded. “All right. rest.You’ll be fine.”
He left the tent and grinned at the physician. “She says she’ll rest.”